Anthony Martial

Martial handed no.9 shirt

Our new no.9 Anthony Martial has become the third Manchester United player in the era of squad numbers to reclaim a former position.

The Frenchman initially wore it at Old Trafford, following his move from Monaco, but switched to no.11 when Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived at the club from Paris Saint-Germain in 2016.

His return to his old number tallies with the more central role he has been filling during some of the pre-season campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, even if we have been fielding a fluid attacking line-up.

He signed a new long-term contract with the Reds at the end of January, and scored against Leeds United and Tottenham during Tour 2019.

Anthony Martial scores on his debut against Liverpool at Old Trafford.
Remember this? Anthony Martial scored on his debut, in the no.9 shirt, against Liverpool.

The other two players to have reverted back to previous shirt numbers are Paul Scholes and Antonio Valencia. Legendary midfielder Scholes wore no.22 during the 1995/96 season, after starting as no.24 in the first year they were introduced in the Premier League in 1993/94.

In January 2012, he took on no.22, which was formerly held by John O’Shea, after making a shock U-turn on his retirement. Ashley Young was in possession of the no.18 jersey he had worn with such distinction during the peak of his playing days under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Valencia, who joined L.D.U Quito in the summer, was awarded the no.7 shirt in 2012/13 but vacated it after a single season to revert back to no.25 in the following summer. Nick Powell had kept it warm for him throughout that campaign.

There have been plenty of instances where players have changed numbers, of course, but, excluding scenarios where players have simply returned from loan to rejoin the squad, these are the only three instances of Reds rediscovering a former slot in the squad.

Seven other players have worn the no.9 shirt since 1993/94 – Brian McClair, Andy Cole, Louis Saha, Dimitar Berbatov, Radamel Falcao, Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku.

United begin the new Premier League season against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday, with kick-off at 16:30 BST. Guarantee your seat to the game is with a Matchday VIP Experience.

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